Roscoe is not a licensed therapist, nor does he have a college degree. He went to Juco for awhile but decided he didn’t need some candyass teaching him shit nobody cares about. He knows however, what the f*** you should do in a given situation.
Dear Roscoe: Got any good catfish recipes?
Signed, Walleye Wally
One time my step-brother Cletus and me was driving his step-daddy’s Dodge down to Possum Hollar to get drunk and catch some catfish when the Sheriff stopped the truck and started askin’ Cletus all these questions about did he have a license and was this here truck registered and insured?
Cletus just stared at him without sayin’ nothin’ cause he’d smoked up about five bowlfuls of this skunkweed he was growin’ out by the old barn. That skunkweed always makes Cletus a little weird. So the Sheriff starts yellin’ at Cletus, and Poot – Cletus’ smellhound Poot – started a barkin’ and a snarlin’.
Then don’t you know Poot ran at the Sheriff and the Sheriff went to grab his gun and Cletus jumped on the Sheriff to keep him from shootin’ Poot right there on the side of the road. So now Cletus and the Sheriff was wrastlin’ over the gun and Poot was a barkin’ and growlin’ and carrying on so I ran off into a cornpatch so as not to get shot up when one of them came out of that pile with a bug up his ass and a loaded gun in his hand.
Then Poot started chasin’ me into that cornpatch! I was yellin’ Poot! It’s me Roscoe! Poot! Quit knawin’ on mah leg! But Poot had this crazy look in his one good eye and he was growlin’ and barin’ his big yellow teeth. ‘Cept Poot’s missin’ one of them front canine teeth from when Cletus kicked him when he thought Poot had dug up his skunkweed.
Anyway. Cletus had somehow got ahold of the Sheriff’s gun and started shootin’ up in the air yellin’ something I couldn’t really understand. Just about then I heard sireens and Cletus came runnin’ through that cornpatch like he was being chased by the devil hisself. Poot followed Cletus and I followed Poot and we started haulin’ ass into the south woods of Possum Hollar. Don’t you know one of them Sheriff’s cars came right into that corn patch and tried to run us down!
But we made it into Possum Hollar and them Sheriffs must have knowed they wasn’t going to find Poot, Cletus and me in Possum Hollar less’n we wanted to be found. So rather than be trampin’ around Possum Hollar all night they just towed Cletus’ stepdaddy’s truck and went off back to town.
So Poot, Cletus and me strung up a fishing pole with some vine and a piece of hickory don’t you know we pulled us five fat catfish out of Echo Lake . Cletus and me gutted up them fish with Cletus’ pocketknife and cooked ‘em on a spit we made up out of hickory and ash branches. Now, when you’re cookin’ up catfish you got to remember that they’re bottom feeders and can get a might greasy. So one advantage of cookin’ em up over indirect heat is a lot of the excess fat drips off.
Try to bring the catfish to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a meat thermometer – which me and Cletus did not – remember that the catfish is fully cooked when the color turns from translucent to opaque (white). Resist the temptation to over-cook fish until it flakes, which indicates the fish is becoming dry.
When this started to happen to Cletus, Poot and me, we basted the catfish with lake water which both added needed moisture and lowered the internal temperature allowing us to cook the fish more evenly. Cletus picked some wild muscadines, huckleberries, and beechnuts and we made up a nice little chutney that we served over the catfish and as a side dish.
We used some dead pine for the fire and soaked some hickory chips in lake water and threw them in the fire when it reached full strength. This added a smokiness that contrasted nicely with the texture and sweetness of the chutney.
Anyway. The Sheriff didn’t arrest Cletus when we got back to town. I guess he didn’t want it to come out that he had lost his gun and all. They did kick the shit out of Cletus one night he was walkin’ home from his job the Gas N’ Go. They even knocked out one of front teeth, so when he smiles he looks just like Poot. Which is weird.
© Frank Housh, 2010